CHICAGO – Indiana Gov. Eric J. Holcomb signed into law Senate Bill 239, a vital patient safety measure that prevents the misappropriation of medical specialty titles, including “anesthesiologist.” The American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) and Indiana Society of Anesthesiologists (ISA) applaud this action, which will protect patients in Indiana from misleading titles, such as “nurse anesthesiologist,” that mispresent the professional’s true education, licensure, certification, and expertise.
“Using the medical term ‘anesthesiologist’ for nurse anesthetists, confuses patients who deserve to be fully informed of their health care provider’s qualifications,” said ASA President Randall M. Clark, M.D., FASA. “This new law affirms the most fundamental right of patients to know the qualifications of their health care professional.”
The law, which will become effective on July 1, 2022, prohibits anyone who is not a physician from using medical specialty titles or designations, including “anesthesiologist,” “cardiologist,” “dermatologist,” and others. It also prohibits health care professionals from using deceptive or misleading advertising that misrepresents or falsely describes their profession, education, or skills.
“ISA, in collaboration with the Indiana State Medical Association, worked tirelessly to ensure this patient safety bill was signed into law,” said ISA President Nicholas Datzman, M.D. “We congratulate the governor on prioritizing patient safety by ensuring clarity and accuracy in health care titles.”
Anesthesiologists are medical doctors who specialize in anesthesia care, pain management, and critical care medicine, bringing the knowledge required to treat the entire body. Their education and training includes 12 to 14 years of education, including medical school, and 12,000 to 16,000 hours of clinical training to specialize in anesthesia care and pain control. Nurse anesthetists do not attend medical school and have about half the education of a physician anesthesiologist and only 2,500 hours of clinical training.
ABOUT THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF ANESTHESIOLOGISTS
Founded in 1905, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) is an educational, research and scientific society with more than 55,000 members organized to raise and maintain the standards of the medical practice of anesthesiology. ASA is committed to ensuring physician anesthesiologists evaluate and supervise the medical care of patients before, during and after surgery to provide the highest quality and safest care every patient deserves.
For more information on the field of anesthesiology, visit the American Society of Anesthesiologists online at asahq.org. To learn more about the role physician anesthesiologists play in ensuring patient safety, visit asahq.org/madeforthismoment. Like ASA on Facebook and follow ASALifeline on Twitter.